Filling the Gap: ATI Radeon HD 4830

Graphics Cards
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POWER

The power consumption of an add-on video card can be estimated by comparing the total system power draw with and without the card installed on our test system. Our results were derived thus:

1. Power consumption of the graphics card at idle - When CPUBurn is run on a system, the video card is not stressed at all, and stays in idle mode. This is true whether the video card is integrated or an add-on PCIe 16X device. Hence, when the system power under CPUBurn with just the integrated graphics is subtracted from the system power under CPUBurn with the add-on card, we obtain the increase in idle power of the add-on card. (The actual idle power of the add-on card cannot be derived, because the integrated graphics does draw some power — we'd guess no more than a watt or two.)

2. Power consumption of the graphics card under load - The power draw of the system is measured with the add-on video card, with CPUBurn and ATITool running simultaneously. Then the power of the baseline system (with integrated graphics) running just CPUBurn is subtracted. The difference is the load power of the add-on card. (If you want to nitpick, the 1~2W power of the integrated graphics at idle should be added to this number.) Any load on the CPU from ATITool should not skew the results, since the CPU was running at full load in both system. Recently we have been using the Furmark utility in place of ATITool as it has been found to increase power consumption more than ATITool. As many of our previous results were obtained using ATITool, we have opted to test with both programs to keep older comparisons more accurate.

Power Consumption Comparison (DC)
Card
Est. Idle Power
Est. Load Power (ATITool)
Est. Load Power (FurMark)
ATI HD 4670
3W
38W
40W
ATI HD 3850
11W
55W
N/A
Asus EN9600GT Silent
26W
65W
N/A
Palit HD 3870
17W
72W
N/A
ATI HD 4830
18W
80W
87W
Diamond HD 4850
50W
101W
N/A
Asus ENGTX260
35W
122W
N/A

By our measurements the HD 4830 used a modest amount of power at idle — 18W, which is closer to the HD 3870 than the HD 4850. The HD 4850 seemed to have had malfunctioning power management when it was tested — we're not sure if this is still the case. Load power was 11% higher than the HD 3870, but 21% lower than the HD 4850. Unless the HD 4830's efficiency is extremely low or high, its 3D performance should lay somewhere in between these two cards.

PowerPlay, ATI's power management technology seemed to be working on the HD 4830 as the idle power measurement was fairly low. Also, according to GPU-Z, when idle and during video playback the core and memory speeds stayed underclocked at 160/250Mhz. Only when ATITool or FurMark was running did the clock speeds rise to its maximum 575/900Mhz.

Video Playback

The HD 4830 handled our video playback testbed with ease. CPU usage during playback failry low except for our more demanding VC-1 clips. The H.264 Rush Hour 3 trailer had a trivial effect on system resources.

Video Playback Results: HD 4830
Video Clip
Mean CPU Usage
Peak CPU Usage
AC Power
Rush Hour
4%
9%
~123W
Coral Reef
31%
41%
~134W
Flight Sim.
57%
79%
~153W
Drag Race
66%
83%
~160W

In terms of CPU usage, video playback was very similar to the previous Radeons. Power consumption during video playback were at levels in-between the HD 4850 and HD 3870, just as they were during idle and full load.

Video Playback Comparison
Video Clip
Palit HD 3870
ATI HD 4830
Diamond HD 4850
Mean
CPU
AC
Power
Mean
CPU
AC
Power
Mean
CPU
AC
Power
Rush Hour
3%
~105W
4%
~108W
3%
~136W
Coral Reef
27%
~118W
31%
~134W
28%
~151W
Flight Sim.
50%
~130W
57%
~153W
55%
~168W
Drag Race
N/A
66%
~160W
73%
~176W


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